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All at sea: Late Jurassic Testudines from Europe
SVPCA Conference
Platform presentation (20 minutes)
*Sarah Fielding
Most Late Jurassic testudines from Europe (Platychelidae, Notoemydidae, Eurysternidae and Plesiochelyidae) are purported to have been marine forms occupying a neritic habitat; an assumption which appears to be mostly based on indications of the depositional environment and general morphology of the shell of these taxa. Few studies of the functional morphology of these families have been conducted to prove or disprove this assumption. Despite the exceptional preservation of fossils from formations such as the Solnhofen Limestone Formation, Germany, and the Reuchenette Formation, Switzerland, this type of morphological study is hampered both by taphonomic features peculiar to testudines and inadequate preservation of the limbs and skulls.

The inaccuracy of using both commonly-used indicators of shell form and depositional environment has been noted by several workers (Joyce and Gauthier 2003). Indicators with a more direct correlation to habitat preference include the presence of lachrymal glands and the relative proportions of the forelimb. Data regarding the forelimb proportions of the Eurysternidae and their palaeoecological implications is presented here for the first time. New work during the course of this study has also examined the links between humeral-femoral indices and aquatic capabilities for the first time in Late Jurassic testudines.

London 2020